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Goals for 2018

Looking ahead to 2018 - just a few days away! I set some sewing goals last year, but I don't think I sewed anything! I was being pretty ambitious, but recovering from pregnancy & delivery, getting used to caring for a baby again, and doing everything else I was doing before really made it difficult to face the challenge of sewing. But now that baby is a year old and we've got things better figured out, I'm hoping that 2018 will be a happy sewing year! Here are this year's challenges from the Historical Sewing Monthly which you can read about in full here. I know I won't get to do all these challenges, but I'm quite excited about how inspiring they are.

January: Mend, Reshape, Refashion: I think I might squeeze in my WLA hat for this challenge that I remolded this past fall. Or make another one to sell. The WLA existed in WWI, so I think I might be able to pull it off for the challenge!

Feb: Under: I'm hoping to finally FINALLY make that custom Rev War c…

A Woman's Plight: Learning From Frustration

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Notice: This post discusses women's menstruation and frustration. If that makes you uncomfortable, please take this as fair warning.

Today was going like every other day, post-holiday. On top of trying to catch up on cleaning, caring for the baby, and feeding everyone lunch, I had to make sure we were out of the door by 2 pm to get the kids to their music lessons. In my bustle to get us out the door on time, one of the kids mentioned that they'd heard someone knocking on the door. It wasn't until a few minutes later, baby in arms, that I opened the door and saw an unfamiliar work truck in our driveway with two men at work on our septic tank. We weren't expecting anyone doing work, so I went out onto the porch in the freezing cold to say hello and ask what they were doing.

One of the two men greeted me and said they were the company contracted to service our new septic tank, and said things didn't look good. He then proceeded to hold up a dirty tampon and said the …

Autumn Wartime: Week 13 - A Wartime Autumn Meal!

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The last week for the Autumn Wartime Recipes & Food has arrived. It's a bittersweet occasion, I think, since autumn foods are some of the best out there. For the last post, I wanted to find some special recipes using up the bounty of autumn harvest vegetables. At this time of year, the cold cellar would still easily be yielding forth apples, carrots, onions, squash, and more. So, for the finale, I found these fun recipes to tempt your palate with a vintage meal*!


 To start, you can try these Hashed Brown Vegetables - the perfect way to use up leftover veg...


...or this simple, but filling Corn Chowder. I've been on the hunt for a 1940s corn chowder recipe. I'm excited to try this one!


For the main dish, you've got the choice of two different styles of non-meat loaf - V Loaf and Nut Vegetable Loaf. A friend of mine pointed out that these are just the 1940s versions of today's vegetarian meatloaf, which is a great point! Strangely, though, neither of them call fo…

Autumn Wartime: Week 12 - Cranberry Apple Ice

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Today, for us in Maryland, it's a chilly 38ΒΊ F. They're forecasting snow for tomorrow. Wouldn't that be great? It's been awhile since we've had snow at this time of year. My kids would be thrilled.

However, for those of you who live in warmer climates, this recipe for Cranberry Apple Ice is perfect for some refreshing festive cheer! I know that Christmas time usually goes hand in hand with roaring fires, sledding, and snowmen, but let's face it - the warmer climates associated with Christmas largely get ignored, because it's not the charming wintery Currier & Ives portrait we imagine with the season. So, you tropical/desert lovelies, this recipe is for you!

It comes from a cookbook called Victory Recipes. It doesn't have a specific publication date, but looking at the introduction talking about the "brand new problem - point rationing", I'd say it was published 1943. 😊






One week left in this year's Autumn Wartime Recipes & Food…

Autumn Wartime: Week 11 - Suppers for Cold Evenings

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This week's post is for these cold evening supper menus from the very amusing Mrs. Appleyard's Kitchen published in 1942. It's hard to say this is a cookbook, even though there are recipes and an index at the back. It's more a fictional story about a woman called Mrs. Appleyard and all about her cooking skills, or lack thereof, with recipes sprinkled throughout. There's a lot of tongue in cheek humor and poking fun at the poor woman. 😁 Even though the page I include talks about cold summer evenings, the ideas translate very well no matter what the season!

I included a funny passage from the end of the book for your enjoyment.

Happy December, and here's to colder weather!




Autumn Wartime: Week 10 - Sweet Potato Souffle

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This week's post is for Sweet Potato Souffle! It's from an fun article from the October 1943 issue of Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife magazine called "Ways to Use All That Food". This article makes reference to using the bounty of the autumn harvest. I could also apply to using up Thanksgiving leftovers. Using up Thanksgiving leftovers has probably been a thing since the beginning, and it will probably continue into the future! It's fun to see 1940s solutions.



Autumn Wartime: Week 9 - Nut Pie

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This week's post for Autumn Wartime Recipes and Food is Nut Pie. 
This month's issue of the modern Better Homes and Gardens magazine had a fabulous-looking pie on its cover of a pecan-looking pie, but using mixed nuts like cashews, peanuts, and almonds! Oh my, that idea was a revelation for me! 
So, now we can make the 1942 version from the Meta Givens Modern Family Cook Book. The recipe surprisingly doesn't have corn syrup, but then again some wartime published cookbooks tended to ignore that there was a war on. (Did you notice this pie has a meringue!!?!) If you make this pie for your holiday festivities, feel free to mix up your nuts! 😊

Autumn Wartime: Week 8 - Time and Sugar Savers

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NaNoWriMo is in full swing. Right now my word count stands at almost 17,000 words. Wow! 50,000 words seems so far away, but if I just keep plugging along, I'll get there eventually!


For this week's post in the series, I chose this neat article in the October 1942 issue of Farm Journal and Farmer's Wife  called "Time and Sugar Savers." The article emphasizes the time and sugar saving benefits of "semi-prepared puddings, gelatins, rennet custards, ice cream and cake mixes." Puddings,  flavored gelatins, and cake mixes came with sugar already in the mix, just like it does today, saving on the family's sugar ration. I think from this article we can begin to see the reliance on packaged, semi-prepared products in our culture. They'd been in existence before the war, but besides them being super convenient, the fact that they saved on sugar in wartime was, I'm sure, an extra boost in its popularity.



Take a look at the autumn-themed desserts at the…

Autumn Wartime: Week 7 - Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

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This weeks' Autumn Wartime recipe is for the very promising-sounding Sweet Potato Pecan Pie! With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving ahead, this recipe looks like just the ticket to get into the holiday spirit!

Happy November!

Update 11/10/17: I couldn't resist trying this pie in advance of the holidays. It was too good to pass up for later!  And, boy was it delicious! My entire family detests sweet potato, but they gobbled this pie up. That is a true testament to this recipe's excellence! (It also helped that we served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmm....) I think next time I'll decrease the salt to 1/4 tsp. and instead of corn syrup, I'll use maple syrup. I was worried about it not having cinnamon or nutmeg, but I didn't notice the absence really. I might add a wee bit next time. Maybe a 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon. 
Oh, man I can't wait to make this again. You will have to give this one a try, my friends! 

From the Archives: AWVS Cook Book

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Recently, I've had a few requests for peeks inside some of my ration cookbooks I've been showing on Instagram. It's been a long time since I've done a "From the Archives" post, so I thought I'd try and slip one in before I go into hibernation for NaNoWriMo tomorrow. (Don't worry, I'll still be posting for my Autumn Wartime series!)

I thought I'd start out with one of my most recent acquisitions - a thrilling find of the American Women's Voluntary Services Cook Book, ca 1942. The AWVS was a women's organization formed during WWII and was modeled after the British counterpart - the WVS. I was excited to find this book, because I've done some research on the organization and find them fascinating. I was especially interested in seeing what their cookbook looked like!

Let's take a look inside.

These forewords are always interesting to read in wartime cookbooks. They're usually chock full of patriotic sentiment that encourages …

Autumn Wartime: Week 6 - Apple Griddle Cakes

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This week's post for Autumn Wartime Recipes & Food is for Apple Griddle Cakes from Thrifty Cooking for Wartime, ca. 1942. Last weekend I wanted to make some pancakes, so I usually turn to my ration cookbooks to try a new recipe each time. I came upon this one that used grated apples (see the first image near the bottom). We just got some yummy Cameo orchard apples, so it was the perfect, happy blend of food fate!

And, they sure were delicious. The batter was thicker than I normally make it, though I did substitute a bit of whole wheat flour. The apple isn't particularly strong, but I even put some applesauce on top - extra apple and extra good!

This recipe is a great one. And just check out all those variations! That's what this cookbook is all about - basic recipes with thrifty changes depending on what you have on hand. It's what makes this wartime cookbook one of my all time favorites!



Autumn Wartime: Week 5 - Farm Topics in Season

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This week's post is a fun article from the October 1942 Farm Journal. I like all the little mentions of food spoken of in this article - pumpkin pie, picking apples, planting nut trees, racing Jack Frost for the green tomatoes. Ah, the glories of Autumn and the Harvest!

In the season-less feel of our modern grocery stores, it's easy to be insulated from the ebb and flow of seasonal eating. While it's nice to be able to get strawberries or grapes whenever you want, there's something special about looking forward to the different seasons for berries, rhubarb, watermelon, pumpkin, or oranges. We reminisce about the flavors, anticipate them. The best part is the sharing and the gorging of that thing when the wonderful time arrives. Like eggnog. And cranberry sauce. And pumpkin pie.

In my opinion, Autumn eating is by far the best!